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EXPLOSION AT THE TWIN TOWERS: An Underground Crater Filled by Twisted Debris

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Author Topic: EXPLOSION AT THE TWIN TOWERS: An Underground Crater Filled by Twisted Debris  (Read 105 times)
Kristin Moore
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Posts: 5137

« on: April 10, 2011, 03:03:36 am »

EXPLOSION AT THE TWIN TOWERS: The Scene; An Underground Crater Filled by Twisted Debris
Published: February 28, 1993

From above there was little indication yesterday of the enormity of the damage, only the lingering stench of smoke, the bent heap of the metal doors to the parking garage and the litter of rescue and repair on West Street, in the lobby of 1 World Trade Center and along the arcade that connects the center's buildings.

Below the surface, though, lay devastation: a gaping, jagged crater, more than 100 feet wide and partly filled with twisted concrete and steel.

On its periphery entire concrete walls had split open and hallways had turned into impassable jumbles of hanging wires and twisted ducts. The ramp that once sloped into the parking garage had convulsed in buckles of asphalt. A cafeteria, near the center's loading dock on the first underground level, lay in utter ruin, a morass of debris and broken glass where, somehow, 30 or 40 workers eating lunch escaped death. Command Center's Fate

Nearby the Port Authority Police Department's command center, six rooms on the edge of the yawning crater, appeared to have been shaken by an enormous earthquake, its walls splintered and left ajar, its ceiling collapsed in a wreck.

As firefighters clambered atop the debris in search of two workers still unaccounted for yesterday, the devastation in the parking garage beneath the World Trade Center, and by extension the size of the blast that caused it, became clear.

The explosion gouged a large, twisted cavern out of four underground levels, about 100 feet east of West Street, tearing away concrete walls, leaving steel girders bent like pipe cleaners and blasting debris onto the platforms and tracks of the PATH station on the second level.

"If it was a device," said Officer John Liegal, a spokesman for the Port Authority Police Department, "it was placed perfectly to damage the entire infrastructure of the building." Cracks in the Walls

The damage was revealed as Officer Liegal and other officials led reporters down into the offices and tunnels beneath the World Trade Center, near the epicenter of the blast. In a stairway to the first basement, cracks tore the concrete block walls.

In the maze of smoky debris, illuminated only by hand-held lights, the hallways of the first underground level were clogged with hanging wires and cables. Thick black soot covered everything. The floor was soaked.

The heart of the Port Authority Police Department, a small room with the controls to the buildings' elevators, alarms and public-address system, was jumbled with debris. The blast had thrown computer keyboards and telephones about the room. Officer Liegal pointed to a large computer, the mainframe that controlled everything, he said. It lay on its side.

"The command center blew up," Officer Liegal said as he gingerly stepped over debris. "That's why we had no P.A. system, no alarm."

In all, 10 people were in the station, including a prisoner being held in a cell for a minor offense, which Officer Liegal did not specify. All suffered injuries, but survived by making their way through the loading docks and up the ramps.

As thick smoke filled the center, an officer opened the prisoner's cell. In the confusion, the prisoner escaped.
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